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The Compassionate Ant
Ants are generally regarded as a nuisance, and are certainly not what one would call the ideal bath-time companions. Yet despite my efforts to keep them away, on the day in question some obviously remained after I rinsed the bath, and more soon arrived on the scene. By the time I was in the water, there was already a lot of new activity, most of it revolving around three very sorry-looking creatures.
The first looked rather flattened, with only the slightest movement in his feelers to indicate that he was still alive. The other two, I was certain, were dead, as was a fourth some distance away. The last was quickly carried off by one of its more fortunate brothers. That, however, was a sight I had seen on several previous occasions, and it did not move me nearly as much as what was to follow.
Ant A really looked in a bad way, and I would have been tempted to put him out of his misery but for the crowds around him. Instead I sat back and watched as the others got down to the job of eliminating what must have been a microscopic puddle of water, moving A to a drier place, and generally helping to dry him off. With a little effort he was soon almost back to normal, after which he was left to his own devices while attention turned to ant B. A finally merged into the crowd and soon I could not tell which one he was.
When finally I was able to turn my attention away from him, I was horrified to see the faintest signs of life in a very squashed B. As the others gathered around him, I thought this was going to be a sad scene, for what I was witnessing could only be his last moments. But obviously I was underestimating not just him, but the whole species, for once more they got down to work, and he too was soon looking much better. Presumably not quite as well as A though, for he was finally carried away to the hole behind which the ant nest must have been located.
At this stage I was more than amazed to notice movement in ant C, who had been lying flattened, motionless and unnoticed even by his own species until then. Suddenly all eyes were upon him, and he soon attracted a bigger group of helpers than either A or B at their worst. Remarkably he seemed to recover a lot more quickly than they had.
Clearly ants are made of tougher stuff than their size would indicate. What really impressed me, however, was how caring they were. In fact it seemed that they were a lot more humane than many members of the human race.